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Chokio and Morris Fire Departments respond to three structure fires in a week

CHOKIO - The Chokio and Morris Fire Departments responded to a major fire in rural Alberta on Thursday night that destroyed most of the residence.

Chokio Fire Chief Bruce Quackenbush said the fire started after parts of the chimney ignited some material in the wall, destroying most of the first floor and part of an upstairs bedroom. The resident of the home was using the fireplace to heat the home.

Although the roof is still intact, Quackenbush said the fire and smoke caused damage throughout the house.

Thursday's fire is the third structure fire the two departments have responded to in the last week. Quackenbush said the Chokio Fire Department typically only responds to one or two structure fires per year.

Quackenbush said working with the Morris Fire Department - which has been called for mutual aid in all three incidents - has been "great," and that additional manpower to respond has been important.

On Tuesday, both departments responded to a house fire at a residence outside Chokio. The fire, which Quackenbush said was likely an electrical failure, destroyed the home's entryway and attic.

Last Thursday, Dec. 1, the department responded to a structure fire at Jerry's Welding in downtown Chokio, which was also likely related to the building's heating systems.

Quackenbush said he encourages residents to have their heating systems checked annually, check the batteries in fire and carbon monoxide detectors and develop escape plans in case an emergency should occur.